Mark Zuckerberg opens Facebook‘s Q2 earnings release with the most generic comment I’ve ever seen from a CEO in a document that companies typically use to hype themselves. “We had a good second quarter,” he says. “Our community has continued to grow, and we see a lot of opportunity ahead as we connect the rest of the world.” The numbers speak louder, I guess: Facebook’s net income of $788M is up 138% vs the period last year on revenues of $2.91B, +60.5%. That beat the $2.81B that analysts expected. Adjusted earnings at 42 cents a share also topped expectations for 32 cents.
The results sent Facebook shares on a ride in post-market trading, up 4%+ after an initial drop. The stock would hit a new high if the increase holds up tomorrow during the trading day. Read More »
Facebook shares are down in after-hours trading after it announced the startling stock and cash deal for the mobile messaging service — the biggest acquisition it has ever made. The companies say that the combo will help them “bring more connectivity and utility to the world by delivering core internet services efficiently and affordably.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says WhatsApp “is on a path to connect 1 billion people. The services that reach that milestone are all incredibly valuable.” Facebook plans to keep WhatsApp’s “core messaging product” and Facebook’s Messenger separate for now. “Here’s what will change for you, our users: nothing,” WhatsApp says in a blog post. Facebook also will maintain WhatsApp’s brand and keep its headquarters in Mountain View, CA. Co-founder and CEO Jan Koum will join Facebook’s board. The companies expect the deal to close later this year. If it doesn’t, then Facebook will have to pay a break-up fee of $1B in cash, and give WhatsApp $1B worth of its stock. The $16B price suggests that What’sApp is just $1.5B less valuable than Sony, based on its market cap, and more than twice as valuable as Gannett or Pandora. The purchase price consists of $4B in cash and $12B in Facebook shares. In addition, Facebook has agreed to give $3B in restricted stock units to WhatsApp’s founders and employees. They will vest over four years after the deal closes. This is believed to be the biggest deal yet for a start-up backed by a venture capital firm, Sequoia Capital. It says on a blog post that “WhatsApp has tapped into our insatiable appetite for personal communication. It is part of a chain that over the past 150 years reaches from the Pony Express, Telegraph and airmail letter to the telephone and email.” The messaging firm has just 32 engineers, and has an uptime of more than 99.9% “so users can rely on WhatsApp the way they depend on a dial-tone.”
The post-market rally in Facebook shares collapsed like a souffle after the company made the disclosure in a conference call with analysts. The stock price was up about 15% after it released strong Q3 earnings. But the price is now virtually flat after CFO David Ebersam said the company had seen a drop in use among young teens. “Our best analysis on youth engagement in the U.S. reveals that usage of Facebook among U.S. teens overall was stable from Q2 to Q3, but we did see a decrease in daily users, specially among younger teens.” Although he considers the data of “questionable statistical significance,” he added that he “wanted to share this with you now since we get a lot of questions about teens.” Indeed, early this month investment firm Piper Jaffray said in its “Taking Stock With Teens” survey that “the popularity of Facebook is waning among teens, with 23% citing it as the most important [social media platform], down from 33% six months ago and 42% a year ago.” That seemed to contradict CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s comment to analysts in July that while “there has been a lot of speculation reporting that fewer teens are using Facebook,” company data showed that it “just isn’t true. … We believe that we’re close to fully penetrated in the U.S. teen demographic for a while and the number of teens using Facebook on both … Read More »
Bill Gates‘ net worth of $72B enabled him to claim the top spot on the Forbes tally for the 20th consecutive year — followed by Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett ($58.5B), Oracle’s Larry Ellison ($41B), and then Koch Industries’ Charles and David Koch ($36B). While Buffett fattened his holdings the most over the last year, adding $12.5B, the recovery in Facebook’s stock helped to boost Mark Zuckerberg‘s net worth by $9.6B to $19B lifting him 16 spots to No. 20. Once again, the list is heavy with names from the tech world — but at least 28 media execs had a net worth of at least $1.3B, the highest amount needed to qualify for the top 400 since 2008. Bloomberg LP founder Michael Bloomberg, who also happens to be mayor of New York, had $31B, putting him in 10th place, same as last year. Cox Communications’ Anne Cox Chambers, with $13.5B, was 29th (+3 on the list), narrowly beating Rupert Murdoch and family $13.4B (at No. 30, +6). Dish Network’s Charlie Ergen follows at $12.5B (No. 32, +7). Advance Publications’ Samuel Newhouse had $8.9B (No. 46, same as last year) ahead of brother Donald’s $8.2B (No. 52, -1). There’s a tie at No. 61 with the $6.7B net worth for Cox Enterprise’s Jim Kennedy (same rank as last year) and Liberty Media’s John Malone (he’s -4 spots on the list). Other media names include: Read More »
David Bloom is a contributor to Deadline Hollywood
The software-only adaptation will “turn your Android phone into a great social device,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says during an event today’s at the company’s HQ. Facebook Home transforms the look and feel of the operating system. For example, it enables the lock screen to display updates from Facebook friends as they come in. The software also allows people to send and receive texts while using other phone functions. Home will be available for free beginning April 12 through the Google Play online app store. It initially will work on five top-end smartphones from HTC and Samsung. Each month thereafter, Facebook plans to expand Home compatibility to additional phones. HTC also announced the HTC First, a Facebook Home-optimized smartphone for the AT&T network that will be available April 12 for $99.99. Zuckerberg, who took no questions during today’s announcement, didn’t say whether Facebook will adapt its software for Apple, Microsoft and Blackberry phones. Samsung, the biggest Android smartphone maker, recently debuted its latest flagship, the Galaxy S4, which is among the first five models that will be compatible with Facebook Home. Facebook shares jumped 2.8% to about $27 in afternoon trading. Google shares dropped about 1.6% to … Read More »
It would be disingenuous for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to ignore the 42.6% decline in his company’s stock price since it went public in May. But on the day when Facebook says it recorded its 1 billionth user, Zuckerberg remains upbeat — and denies that he’s over his head — in an interview with Matt Lauer to be broadcast tonight on Rock Center With Brian Williams. Here’s a clip that ran this morning on Today:
It’s still too early to say that definitively. But it’s possible as the social media company’s shares, which hit a record low yesterday, are up 4.6% in mid-afternoon trading. Investors seem to be responding to the announcement that CEO Mark Zuckerberg won’t sell any of his 504M shares for at least a year. The company also said that for tax purposes it will hold on to 101M shares it was authorized to issue. These decisions modestly reduce the number of Facebook shares that could hit the market over the next several months. So-called “lock up” rules governing Facebook’s initial public offering in May require inside shareholders to wait before they sell their stock; those waiting periods have already begun to expire– a process that will stretch into early 2013. Public investors feared that Facebook’s stock price could continue to fall if insiders decide to take the money and run. Although nobody imagined that Zuckerberg would bail out of the company he created, the announcement late yesterday that he won’t sell any shares for a year “signals that management is concerned about the current stock price and its future evolution (a non-trivial fact for a company with Facebook’s governance structure), and that it sees upside from the current price,” Bernstein Research’s Carlos Kirjner says. Pivotal Research Group’s Brian Wieser also says that the news is “incrementally favorable” but potentially “important for market sentiment.” Facebook went public in … Read More »
Another NBC Olympic gaffe. Cameras for the Numbskull Broadcasting Company spotted actor Jesse Eisenberg sitting in the audience during the USA vs Spain gold medal basketball game. Then a commentator is caught on video identifying The Social Network star as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, adding: “Every executive of note it seems worldwide is attending these games.” No wonder NBC hates live Olympic coverage.
Odd that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn’t think of this a few months ago, before his company went public with its all-male board. But after enduring attacks from women’s rights groups led by UltraViolet, the company today says that COO Sheryl Sandberg will join the exclusive club. “Sheryl has been my partner in running Facebook and has been central to our growth and success over the years,” Zuckerberg says. “Her understanding of our mission and long-term opportunity, and her experience both at Facebook and on public company boards makes her a natural fit for our board.” Sandberg, who has an MBA from Harvard, also is a director for Disney, Women for Women International, the Center for Global Development and V-Day. Facebook notes in an SEC filing that Sandberg will receive no additional pay for her board work. She received nearly $31M in compensation last year. Facebook’s board also includes Zuckerberg, investor Marc Andreessen, University of North Carolina president emeritus Erskine Bowles, Accell Partners’ James Breyer, Washington Post Co CEO Donald Graham, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, and Founders Fund CEO Peter Thiel.
Investors are still infatuated with all things tech: Facebook’s upcoming initial public offering — expected to take place on Friday — is already oversubscribed following executives’ road show to gin up interest among institutional investors. And this morning the company said in an SEC filing that the offering price will be between $34 and $38 a share, up from its previous range of $28 to $35. The new high price would value Facebook at $104B, up from the previous high of $96B. The Class A shares being offered to the public will have one vote apiece while the Class B shares, held by insiders, have 10 votes. As a result, founder Mark Zuckerberg will control 57.3% of the votes after Facebook goes public.
Despite a dismissal from a Massachusetts judge, self-proclaimed Facebook co-creator Aaron Greenspan is not giving up his battle against Columbia Pictures and Random House. Greenspan claims he was denied his rightful place in the Facebook saga by being left out of The Social Network and by having his name changed in Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires. Greenspan filed an appeal on May 10 against the studio, the publisher and Mezrich in his copyright infringement, fraud and “defamation by omission” case. The filing comes just a few days before Facebook’s expected $96 billion IPO and a day after Judge Robert Collings dismissed all of the former Harvard student’s claims. The book Accidental Billionaires was the basis for the screenplay Aaron Sorkin wrote for the 2010 Columbia film about the creation of Facebook; Sorkin won the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay. Greenspan has long claimed he came up with “The Face Book” in September 2003, months before his classmate Mark Zuckerberg did. Zuckerberg is not named as a defendant. Read More »
The cash and stock deal is the biggest to date for the social network colossus, and gives it one of the most popular smartphone photo sharing apps. After just two years, Instagram has about 30M users, almost all on iPhones — the company introduced a version for Android phones last week. The application gives users the ability to create special effects with the photos they take on their smartphones, and share the end result with others on Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said on his Facebook site that he’s “committed to building and growing Instagram independently. Millions of people around the world love the Instagram app and the brand associated with it, and our goal is to help spread this app and brand to even more people.” Facebook announced the deal as it prepares to go public with a stock offering expected to raise $10B.
When’s the last time you heard a venture capitalist say that when companies go public they begin “a Bataan death march,” and engage in a “manifestly” unfair game that’s reminiscent of organized crime? Well, those are a few of the provocative comments that Elevation Partners co-founder Roger McNamee — a major media and tech investor — made today on Bloomberg Television. He’s a big backer of Facebook and gushes that its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, is “The One…The best I’ve ever known.” (By the way, Elevation named itself after a U2 song, and the group’s lead singer, Bono, is a member of its investment team.)
The Facebook filing values Mark Zuckerberg stake at $16 billion. Facebook said its 27-year-old founder and CEO owns more than a quarter of the company, or roughly 534 million shares. Those are just some of the numbers in the SEC filing to issue stock that will trade under the symbol “FB.” Facebook says that it generated $1B in net income last year, up 65% from 2010, on revenues of $3.7B, up 88%. It has 845M monthly active users, 100B friendships, and 2.7B likes and comments per day. But Zuckerberg warns potential investors in the filing that Facebook “was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission — to make the world more open and connected….Simply put: we don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services. And we think this is a good way to build something. These days I think more and more people want to use services from companies that believe in something beyond simply maximizing profits.”
Like many Silicon Valley execs, Zuckerberg expects his stock to provide his personal financial reward. Before the IPO he controls 56.9% of Facebook’s voting shares. That mostly comes from his control of 1.1B Class B shares which have 10 votes apiece as opposed to the Class A shares to be sold to the public which have 1 vote apiece. His compensation package last year came to $1.5M (including $483,333 in salary, $220,500 in bonus, and $783,529 in other … Read More »
Facebook’s latest revamp has big implications for entertainment. At the company’s developer conference f8 today, CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the broader purpose of the site’s recently unveiled “ticker” feature as well as a new one called Timeline, and announced a slew of content deals that will allow users to latch on to the TV shows, movies and music that their friends are enjoying. The “open graph” media apps — which will include Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and IMDb – will allow users to launch a window from the ticker or Timeline to watch TV and movie content, or listen to songs their friends have just listened to. However, as Netflix can’t seem to catch a break lately, there are complications: The company’s embattled CEO, Reed Hastings, also took the stage at f8 to talk about the Netflix integration and pointed out that current U.S. law prevents Netflix users from connecting the service to their Facebook account. Users in all the company’s other territories have the go-ahead, though. The Netflix blog posted a plea for its U.S. customers to ask Congress to reverse a law that “creates some confusion over our ability to let U.S. members automatically share the television shows and movies they watch with their friends on Facebook.” Read More »
Hollywood arrived at the annual Allen & Co investment conference in Sun Valley today — but I don’t know why. It’ll be a showbiz snorefest. Because only ”A Conversation With Oprah Winfrey” is scheduled and no one is interested unless she comes clean about how much money she’s caused Discovery’s David Zaslav to piss away. That’s a departure from last year when showbiz came back into favor at Camp Allen because of an “Entertainment Panel” consisting of Barry Diller, Peter Chernin, Jeff Katzenberg, and Bobby Kotick (the CEO/president of Activision Blizzard). The YouTube/Twitter types will participate in “The New Breed” panel. And Bill Gates interviews Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Otherwise, there’s an emphasis on overseas: ”Building A Business In China” confab, “Mexico Today”, “The Middle East”, a sit-down with Jordan’s King Abdullah II (who just endorsed a Cabinet reshuffle on Saturday in the wake of scandals and resignations), a confab about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a how-to panel on “Managing Global Enterprises in Turbulent Times”. Also speaking will be Brigadier General Loree Sutton (the highest ranking psychiatrist in the US army), New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and panelists for ”Managing Hyper-Growth Companies”. Gone are the Friday night dildos. Or the sandwich boards for out-of-work moguls. Gawd, Camp Allen isn’t worth covering anymore.
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks has officially entered the derby to turn the story of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks into a feature film. The studio has acquired rights to two books by pivotal players in the WikiLeaks drama. DreamWorks has secured screen rights to Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website, the Crown book by Daniel Domscheit-Berg. He’s the former top WikiLeaks former executive who defected because he wanted WikiLeaks to exercise journalistic discretion instead of the document dump that took place. ICM brokered that deal. DreamWorks has also bought WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy, written by David Leigh and Luke Harding, the two journalists from the UK-based The Guardian who worked with Assange on bringing his first revelations into play through their paper, as well as Der Spiegel and The New York Times. That book was published by Guardian Books. They detail their dealings with Assange, who at one point hid from the CIA in Leigh’s London house. The book covers the WikiLeaks phenomenon from its 2006 launch onward.
I’m told that DreamWorks executives from Stacey Snider, Steve Spielberg to co-presidents Holly Bario and Mark Sourian, are intrigued enough by the Assange story to cobble together rights that will allow them to attack the story creatively from any of several angles. They are content to gather string, but haven’t hired a writer yet. A good … Read More »